Youth Programs

IPO’s Educational Programming reaches 4,000+ school children of all ages each year

SYSO (Suburban Youth Symphony Orchestra) is a strategic partner of Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra

Vision for Education and Community Engagement

IPO believes music education is fundamental to developing vibrant and creative people and communities.  IPO’s Education and Engagement programming will bolster and support the efforts of highly qualified music educators, finding ways to deepen musical experiences for students of all ages.

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra is the largest performing arts organization in Chicago’s Southland, providing professional orchestral music of beauty and excellence to the region with a strong commitment to education. Through a wide variety of engaging programs designed to meet the needs of students, teachers, and community members of all ages, we strive to build a stronger community and impart our passion of music and the art.

IPO Youth Concerts are Back!

Join IPO on Wednesday, May 10th, 2023 at 9:30 and 11:00am for

Once Upon a Symphony! 

James Stephenson’s Once Upon a Symphony is designed to introduce K-6th grade audiences to the wonders of the orchestra. Additionally, it engages them in the compositional process, resulting in a unique world premiere created each and every performance. Students join Maddie, a young composer, in a series of fun and interactive musical explorations. This program is a fast-paced, colorful way to get to know the musical instruments of the symphony orchestra.

Make your reservation below or download the Ticket Order Form.

Docent Program

The IPO sends our knowledgeable volunteers into local schools to prepare students for the Youth Concerts, providing information about the music they will hear, along with an explanation of orchestra instruments and concert etiquette.

Artists in the Schools

Each year the IPO sends out its musicians in trios and quartets to share live music with children in the neediest area schools and community centers. This program allows children to better understand music and connect the arts with curriculum and daily life, while giving some students the opportunity to hear live classical music for the first time. This work is supported through Annual Fund and other donor giving. Grants are available to bring in these ensembles; please contact IPO’s Educations Director at at 708.481.7774.

Guest Artist Appearances

Each year the IPO brings in a variety of internationally acclaimed guest artists to share the stage with our orchestra. As their schedule permits, the IPO also arranges to have these musicians perform and do a Q and A with students and/or give masterclasses in area schools. The IPO is also pleased to offer special post-concert backstage access to students. (Pictured is pianist Lisa Smirnova during her visit to Lincoln-Way West High School in New Lenox.)

Musician Coaching

IPO offers groups of high school students the opportunity to practice their music and learn from four professional string musician – violin, viola, cello, and bass – in an individualized sectional rehearsal.

Meet the Maestro

The IPO partners with high orchestras throughout the Chicago Southland by sending our Music Director in to present workshops to engage students, work on technique and develop musicianship.

Performance Opportunities

IPO offers school ensembles the opportunity to perform pre-concert and at intermission in the Ozinga Chapel lobby during IPO concerts. Participants and their siblings receive free tickets to the IPO concert; their family members may purchase discounted tickets.
Limited Availability

Rising Star Showcase

The Rising Star Showcase is a program designed to offer performance-ready music students from Chicago’s South Suburbs a chance to perform before a live audience. Past IPO Rising Stars have gone on to great musical success, with many securing collegiate music scholarships. A notable number of Rising Stars have also become accomplished, professional musicians after participating in the program.



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